Day At The Track

"Ronny's" now going forward in a flurry

10:00 AM 02 Jul 2020 NZST
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Victorious trainer Ray Harvey is pictured with his Terang winner The Penny Drops and driver Grant Campbell,Harness racing
Victorious trainer Ray Harvey is pictured with his Terang winner The Penny Drops and driver Grant Campbell
Terang HRC

Stawell harness racing hobby trainer Ray Harvey makes no secret that he was ready to give up on many occasions with a young square-gaiter that had only one gear-and that was reverse!

"It didn't matter what I tried, all he wanted to do was go backwards. He would barely take one step forward," Harvey said.

"I've broken in quite a few over the years and never have I come across one like it before. But bless his little soul, that's all in the past and he's now the best horse I've ever had in my stables!" he said.

And the aptly-named The Penny Drops (Danny Bouchea-Chilly Pepperell (Classic Adam) is certainly a bright prospect among Victorian trotting ranks, posting his eighth career win at Terang on Tuesday night.

The four-year-old was bred and now raced by Harvey, his partner Moira Hateley, and friends Jim and Val Pickering.

Harvey said one of the first times "Ronny" (The Penny Drops' stable name) got the idea of moving forward, was when their dog walked past.

"The horse just set off following the dog. Another time Moira walked by and he followed her. So Moira then walked around our track, with the horse coming along behind her," he said.

"So with this in mind, we got old Baltimore Boy (7 wins & 23 placings) who we retired five years ago, and tied him to the jog cart next to Ronny. That worked perfectly, and providing Ronny could hear the other horse, he was happily trotting-and in a forward direction!

"After that day there hasn't been a problem and we could leave Baltimore Boy at home. But the two horses are now the best of mates.

"We leased the dam Chilly Pepperell and bred from her. The Penny Drops has so far provided us with a great deal of enjoyment."

Harvey, who is from a thoroughbred background, was a late arrival to the trotting game and came to train standardbreds by chance.

"I was a jockey as a kid and later in Adelaide I rode over the jumps. I've worked for some top trainers, including the Cummings stable," he said.

"I got a job at the Stawell racecourse, but because of the hours I was required to work, it was impossible to train gallopers. So I went into doing standardbreds about 10 to 15 years ago-and here I am still going and loving it."

Now a truckdriver, Harvey said training standardbreds worked better around the couple's lifestyle.

"You can train them at home whenever it suits and when I'm doing an early shift with truck driving, Moira takes care of the feeding duties before she heads off," he said.

"Moira has also been involved in the thoroughbred side of things in the past. She has some show hacks at home and is right into it."

The Penny Drops showed exceptional ability last season as a three-year-old with five wins and two placings from 14 starts. This season he has also been consistent with three wins and four placings from 11 outings.

"We finished second, beaten a half neck in the 2020 TAB South Australian G1 $30,000 Trotters Cup, in February. I usually only give them two or three weeks off, but we went away, and he ended up having six weeks in the paddock," Harvey said.

"He came back in with a bigger girth than me! It's has taken so long to get the weight off him. His first two starts back on May 30 and then June 18 sharpened him up and he looks okay now.

"He's a nice, honest horse, but I'm sure there's improvement in him because he's so laid back and doesn't always go his hardest.

"I put blinkers on him quite a while ago and that got his head in the game. I really believe he likes just being a type of social horse."

Harvey is hoping for a start at Melton on Saturday week in a Winter Championship.

"The mobile barrier start isn't really his go because he's not real quick, but hopefully we will be thereabouts," he said.

Harvey has just finished breaking in two babies that are now out for a spell-both trotters.

"I prefer them to pacers, but they can be more heart-breaking!" he admitted.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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